Resources for learning Chinese


Hohhot is not a city that you can function easily in without some Chinese ability. For some, they may see this as a negative aspect about life here. But for me, I feel like foreigners living in Hohhot have the advantage over foreigners living in other cities in that living here (as opposed to other places where the expat community is large) forces us to learn Chinese and forces us to use the Chinese we know in order to function in the city. I’m sure you could survive without Chinese, but you life and relationships will improve as you can communicate better in Chinese.

Today’s post is intended to give you a list of resources for Chinese study. This list is by no means complete, so leave your best hints, tips, and resources in the comments. I’ll also make sure to put all these links up on the language page.

1. You can enroll in an official program of study here. Nei Da, Shi Da, Gong Da, Nong Da, Hong De (and possibly others) have programs for studying Chinese. Check out our previous post here.

2. Blogs. There are many blogs that offer grammar explanations and other useful study tips. One to try is
3. Pleco. Pleco is a dictionary for your smartphone. My study would have been COMPLETELY different with if this app existed 11 years ago. I had to actually look up characters in the dictionary whereas with this app you can draw the character on the screen and it will pull up the word. It also has a flashcard program built-in. I use the free version, but you can also upgrade to a version that increases the dictionaries and allows you to look up words by scrolling your phone over the text (even lazier than drawing them yourself!) It’s very helpful!

4. Anki flash cards. This is a memory system for studying anything, but it can be used for Chinese also. You can create your own lists or use their pre-made lists. You can set up the program to focus on learning pin yin or characters or any variety or combination. If you’re studying for the HSK they have ready-made lists of cards for each level.

5. Chinese Pod. A foreigner favorite. Listen to Chinese lessons on your smartphone or ipod. Many levels and topics to choose from.


6. Pera pera kun. This is a program for your computer browser (if you use firefox or chrome) that allows you to read characters by scrolling the mouse over it. Scrolling over it will pull up the pin yin and definition, as well as group words together for you.

7. The Peace Corps language training manuals are public domain. You can see their Chinese lessons here.

8. Study with a tutor. If you need help finding one, we can help. Leave a comment or post in the forum.

9. My husband swears by the Pimsleur method of language learning. It’s an audio-based program that won’t teach you writing, but will help you communicate quickly. They have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 different levels you can work your way through.

10. Rosetta Stone. I’m not familiar enough with this one to  write a good review, but, I know many have had success with it. I understand it to be a computer-based program that uses images to teach.

11. Books! GO recommended this one to us when we met him this summer. It is designed to help you learn and remember the characters. Remembering the Han Zi
and here is a list of other books Amazon recommends.

12. Caide Consulting is also offering one on one tutoring sessions here in Hohhot for reasonable prices. Check them out!

And that, my friends, is all the hyper-linking I can handle today 🙂 I hope you found something useful for improving your Chinese!

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